Season 10, Episode 19 (Hell to Pay)
Rather than celebrate the show’s 150th episode with throwbacks and jokes, the writers decided to pull out all of the stops for a five-headed cliffhanger!
Incidentally, Miss James was absent from the episode. Was she studying for or writing her exams at the medical college, perhaps? I couldn’t help but try to imagine her shock upon learning of the episode’s events. Perhaps to calm my nerves, I kept envisioning something comedic.
While the episode is told out of chronological order for the first act, we come to learn that Murdoch got too close to uncovering a conspiracy involving important businessmen and civic officials. As a result, he is framed for murder and goes on the run; his colleagues try their best to help him while being more and more tethered and muzzled by their superiors. Everyone is compromised and we are left with a lot of characters in mortal peril when the credits roll. Even side characters such as Mrs. Brackenreid and Nina have their fates called into question by implication: if the conspirators think that they could be useful to them or if they might know too much, they would have no qualms about hurting them. As a viewer, I actually hope that the conspirators write off Nina as “just a whore” and not worth bothering about, and that they think Mrs. Brackenreid is just a silly wife with no knowledge of what her husband might be up to. The former is in more danger, since she is actually featured in the episode and is connected both to Crabtree and to one of the murder victims. But the latter is not in the clear, since one could say Dr. Ogden is also just a wife with no knowledge of her husband’s affairs.
The writers are going to have fun putting the pieces of the story back together. Either that, or the show will become “Miss James’s Mysteries!”
Joking aside, Murdoch Mysteries is a dramedy. Shaking up the core cast too much would remove the comedy element. Even killing off side characters who have recently been getting attention, like Higgins and Jackson, would jeopardise the nature of the show. Murdoch Mysteries is beloved because it is fun, intriguing, informative, and reliable. In short, I am not too worried about the overall fate of the characters – especially when the head writer seems to basically agree with me.
So I will be waiting to see how they promote filming next season, since just about any character’s presence would be a spoiler…